Why Does My Printer Say Offline? Detailed Solutions

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Printer Say Offline

Printers are essential to many sectors, including banking, government agencies, schools, and other organizations. Even homes require printers for different activities, especially for people who work from home. Many people still prefer to read or work on paper, making printers a must-have. However, nothing is worse than receiving a warning saying your printer is unavailable when you’re rushing to meet a deadline.

Key Takeaways

  • Your printer may go offline due to connectivity, software, and hardware issues.
  • Restarting your printer could bring it back online.
  • Check if your USB cable is secure or if your printer and device are connected to the same WiFi network.

If your printer displays an offline notice, it indicates it is experiencing trouble communicating with your computer. Provided you know where to look, most problems are simple to resolve. Here are the reasons why your printer is offline and the steps to get it back up and printing.

Understanding the ‘Offline’ Status

The ‘Offline’ status of a printer indicates that the device is unavailable for use or communication with a computer. The ‘offline’ display means the printer is not responding to print jobs or other requests from a computer or network.

Causes of the Printer Going Offline

The causes of a printer going offline can vary, but some common reasons include the following:

  • The issue could be the physical cable is not connecting the printer to your computer.
  • If you have a wireless printer, there can be issues with the wireless network connectivity.
  • Installation of the software and printer may have been done incorrectly, or the printer drivers may need to be updated.
  • An offline status can also mean the printer is turned off, disconnected from power, or in sleep mode.

You can resolve these issues quite easily. However, if there is a hardware issue with the printer, your only choice is to call customer care to get it fixed or replaced.

Related: What Does Spooling Mean on a Printer?

Consequences of Printers Being Offline

Depending on the extent of the issue and the importance of the tasks you must complete, the effects of an offline printer range from a slight inconvenience to a major loss of productivity. 

For instance, if an office printer goes offline, it could delay the completion of crucial work tasks or result in a backlog of print jobs. If a printer goes offline while printing sensitive information, there is a risk of losing data if it is not properly saved or backed up.

Related: Best Photo Printer for iPhone – 5 Model To Consider in 2023

Common Causes of Printers Going Offline

Printers can display the ‘offline’ text if they cannot communicate with your computer. Sometimes, when printing, the device or computer thinks the printer is offline, even though it is ready to print. This error may be due to a communication problem between the device and the printer. Here are some of the common causes of a printer going offline.

Connectivity Issues

  • Wi-Fi or Network connection: If a printer is connected to a network, issues with the Wi-Fi or network connection, such as weak signals, interference, or problems with the router or modem, can cause it to go offline. 
  • USB cable issues: If a printer is connected to a computer via a USB cable, issues with the cable, such as breakage or a loose connection, can cause the printer to go offline.

Software Issues

  • Driver updates: Printer drivers are software programs that allow the printer to interface with the computer. If there is an issue with the printer driver, such as an out-of-date version or incompatibility with the operating system, the printer may go offline.
  • Operating system compatibility: Some printers may not be compatible with the most recent operating systems, causing them to go offline. This issue is prevalent in older printers whose drivers still need to be updated.

Hardware Issues

  • Paper jamming: Paper jams can occur when paper gets stuck in the printer, causing it to go offline. The jamming can be due to faults with the paper feed system, incorrect paper type, or other physical problems with the printer.
  • Ink or toner depletion: If the ink or toner in a printer runs out, it may cause the printer to go offline because the printer cannot produce any more prints until it is refilled with ink or toner.

Related: What Is the Best Printer With the Cheapest Ink Cartridges?

Troubleshooting Steps to Fix Offline Printer

Here are some common troubleshooting steps to fix your offline printer: Note that these instructions are for the windows 10 operating system.

Ensure the Printer Is Not Operating in Offline Mode

Your printer might be in offline mode. To check your printer’s status, explore these two alternatives on your Windows 10 computer:

  1. Click the Start button >Settings.
  2. In the control panel, select Bluetooth & devices.
  3. Click Printers and Scanners on the Bluetooth & devices page.
Printers and Scanners Settings

Image by my.canon 

  1. Select your printer.
  2. Select Open printer queue.
  3. Choose Printer from the menu bar in the printer queue box and uncheck Use Printer Offline.
Use Printer Offline Settings

Image by thewindowsclub.com

Via Control Panel:

1. Click on the “Start” button or press the Windows key on your keyboard.

2. Type “Control Panel” in the search bar and click on the corresponding option that appears.

3. In the Control Panel window, select “Devices and Printers.”

4. Select your printer.

5. If the printer is online, it should display “Ready” as its status. If it’s offline, it will display “Offline” as its status.

6. If the printer is offline, you can try to bring it back online by right-clicking on the printer and selecting “See what’s printing”, then clicking on “Printer” and unchecking the “Use Printer Offline” option.

Related: How to Add & Connect a Printer to iPhone?

Restart Your Printer

Restarting the printer is one of the initial steps in troubleshooting. If there is a temporary issue, turning the printer off and on again allows it to reboot and refresh. Turn off the printer through the power button or the control panel. You can also unplug and plug it back in and wait one minute for it to reset and establish a connection to your WiFi. 

Checking the Connections

If the printer is directly linked to your computer through a USB cable, you should verify that the cable is secure. You could also swap cables and USB ports to rule out a faulty cable or USB port as the cause of the issue.

However, most printers are now wireless, and it is simple for your printer to disconnect from WiFi. Ensure that your printer and PC are linked to the same WiFi network.

Related: What Does Collate Mean on a Printer?

Clear the Print Queue

Here’s how to clear your print queue for the windows 10 operating system:

  1. Click on the “Start” button and select “Settings”.
  2. In the Settings window, click on “Devices”.
  3. On the left-hand side of the Devices window, click on “Printers & scanners”.
  4. Find the printer that has the print jobs you want to cancel and click on it.
  5. Click on the “Open queue” button under the printer’s name.
  6. In the print queue window, click on the “Printer” menu. Select “Cancel All Documents” from the drop-down menu.
Cancel All Documents Printer Settings

Image by intowindows.com 

Updating Printer Drivers

Verify that you are using the most recent version of the software for your printer.

If you’re not, you can update your software from within the application or check the manufacturer’s website for available software updates.

Reinstall Your Printer

If by now, nothing has worked, you can attempt to reinstall the printer. A reinstall could fix a problem or a setting that isn’t set up right that is stopping it from working. Here’s how to reinstall your printer;

  1. Unplug your printer and its USB cable (if it is connected to your computer by USB cable).
  2. On your computer, press the Start button, then Settings.
  3. On the Setting page, click Bluetooth & devices.
  4. Select Printers and scanners and choose your Printer from the list of devices.
Reinstall Printer Settings

Image by askleo.com 

  1. Click Remove at the top right of the printer page.

After uninstalling your printer, go to the Printer & scanners page and select Add device.

Related: What Is the Size of Printer Paper? Choosing the Perfect Fit for Your Printing Needs

Why Does My Printer Say Offline? FAQs

How Do I Restart My Printer Spooler?

To restart the print spooler, do the following:

  • In the Start menu’s search bar, enter “services.” When Services appears in the list of search results, select it.
  • Locate Print Spooler in the list of available services.
  • Right-click Print Spooler and select Restart.

How Do I Run My Printer Troubleshooter?

To run your troubleshooter, follow these steps:

  • Press the Start button, then Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners.
  • Choose your printer, then click Manage.
  • Select “Run the troubleshooter and follow the steps to see if Windows can find any problems.

Related: 5 Best All-In-One Printers for Home Use With Cheap Ink

Why Does My HP Printer Say Offline When It Is Connected?

The “printer offline” error may appear if your computer cannot communicate with your printer. This display could result from faulty cable connections, an out-of-date printer driver, or an operating system. The HP Smart app can automatically diagnose and fix printer offline issues on Windows-based operating systems. Still, sometimes, your HP printer really is not connecting to Wi-Fi, so ensure that it’s not the case.

Why Is My Printer Connected but Offline?

Check your connections: For wireless printing, ensure that your computer and printer are connected to the same network. Certain printers enter “Sleep mode” after a few minutes of inactivity. In sleep mode, the printer will display offline on the computer. Press the power button (or any button) to turn it on.

Related: How Much Is a 3D Printer? All You Need to Know


When a printer goes offline, it is essential to take prompt action to resolve the problem. The repercussions of a printer being offline can range from a slight inconvenience to a significant loss of productivity. 

Following the steps indicated in this article makes it possible to quickly and successfully resolve most offline printer issues. In addition, it is essential to keep printer drivers up-to-date and to address any software or hardware issues as soon as possible. If the steps above do not solve your issue, we advise you to contact your printer manufacturer.


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